Water crisis: Chennai mansions ask guests to vacate

Triplicane nearly 259 mansions are vacated on Friday.  DH photo by ETB Sivapriyan

For bachelors and those scouting for budget accommodation, Triplicane area in the heart of this metropolitan city has been a paradise for decades. Triplicane, which is located close to the Chennai Central railway station, is home to over 250 mansions (also known as lodges) that provide accommodation for as low as Rs 100 a day.

Triplicane, also known for eateries that provide quintessential South Indian meals at much lower rates, has been the most-after sought destination for youngsters who land in Chennai looking for jobs. But the water crisis that has hit the city has changed everything.

Most mansions in the by-lanes of Triplicane have cut down occupancy due to a shortage of water and some have even asked their guests to vacate by the end of this month. With borewells not working and the Metro Water not able to provide enough water to such mansions, the management have decided to stop checking-in new inmates for now.

The city has been witnessing water crisis for the past few weeks forcing IT/ITES companies to ask its employees to work from home and medium-sized eateries to take off several food items from their menu. With all four lakes that provide water to Chennai drying up completely, the city and its residents are at the mercy of water tankers that are charging high rates to supply water.

An hour-long walk across Triplicane revealed that the crisis was real. Many mansions have put up boards informing inmates to use water scarcely while some provide water only for a few hours in the morning and evening. And a few eateries, which are dependent on tanker lorries, have also shut for now, causing inconvenience to bachelors.

“The cost of hiring a tanker has also increased in the past few weeks. Mansions which survive on small margins cannot afford to spend huge money on water. Since borewells don’t give enough water and tankers are also not available easily, many mansions have decided not to enrol new inmates,” a manager at a mansion in Parthasarathy street told DH.

A tanker with 12,000 litres of water cost less than Rs 3,000 in May but the price has shot up to Rs 8,000 this month. “Worse is we won’t get delivery for at least five days after booking due to high demand. That is the magnitude of the crisis,” a guard at another mansion on Ellis Road said.

The mansions are popular since they provide accommodation to bachelors on daily, weekly and monthly basis at low rates.

“One can easily get a room with common bathroom for Rs 100 and Rs 150 with attached toilet. You can never get rooms for such rates anywhere in the city. But finding room in a mansion has become very difficult this year,” Arun Kumar, a student who was looking for accommodation, said. And the demand for rooms has increased since admission season in colleges have begun.

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